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Comfort Food For Fantasy Failure

All right readers, I have a confession to make. I am the owner of a fantasy football team. In fact, I’m the commissioner of the league. I know, I know, it’s like you don’t even know me. I’ve been living this double life without any disclosure to you. A second life away from sharp knives, sauté pans, and baking sheets; a life away from pictures taken in bad lighting (AKA: my kitchen) and weekly blog posts. This secondary life is full of

player analysis, waiver wires, and draft boards and endless amounts of trash talk. But I don’t want you to worry; my weekly examination of match-ups and shuffling of line-ups in order to have my best eleven out there will not interfere with my time in the kitchen and time spent here blogging; in fact, this week, I gave equal time to both.

My girlfriend will never understand… hell, girlfriends and wives everywhere will never understand. It’s hard to comprehend, why when fall rolls around, the boys and I geek out and feel the need to watch a seemingly meaningless Sunday night game between New York and Baltimore. But the odds were stacked against me, only being up 20 points going into the final game of the day. Alas, chalk up another “L” in the loss column…

No one will ever appreciate the devotion to our team, (other than other fantasy owners) and why we wake up before game time on Sunday morning, simply to check all the latest reports to see if our questionable running back has upgraded to probable. No one will ever empathize with us after a tough loss in which we suffered an injury to a key player. No, not even the other team managers will have compassion for our loss; rather they will trash talk till the cows come home. You will undoubtedly question your team scramble every week for replacements for your under-performing players.

But we don’t need them to understand. One thing that anyone can understand is that pretzels and hot dogs and mustard are a match made in heaven. And they make the perfect snack for a bunch of dudes (me and my girlfriend who happily helped with the picture taking and pastry assisting – because as you know, I don’t do pastry well) while watching football.

Yes, pretzel hot dog bites! Comfort food for a week four loss…

Don’t act like you don’t love a good hot dog, especially when it’s incorporated into a soft, doughy vessel of goodness. This little suckers are awesome. They don’t have the malty-ness of a pretzel, but otherwise, the dough is quite good. The recipe makes a lot, but if you can refrain from eating them all, store them in the freezer and pull one or four out every time you need a little football or late-night snack.

Pretzel Hot Dog Bites (Adapted from SF Gate)

*I should note that despite following the recipe, I would make some alterations; the dough to dog ratio was off – there either needed to be less dough or more dog*

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 package active dry yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

5 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting

To finish:

Vegetable oil spray

4 hot dogs

cheddar cheese cut into bites equal in size to hot dogs

8 cups water

1/4 cup baking soda

Coarse or pretzel salt

Instructions:

For the dough: Combine water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and whisk until yeast is dissolved and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, salt, 1 egg, butter and 1 cup of flour, and whisk together. Turn machine on low and add remaining flour in batches, waiting until each batch is combined. Stop every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl and clean off the hook.

Once you’ve incorporated all of the flour and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, transfer the dough ball to an oiled bowl, flip to oil the dough on all sides, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place – your kitchen counter should be fine – until it doubles in size.

To assemble: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with non-stick spray and dust with flour – this is important, or else the dough will stick; set aside. Cut hot dogs in half lengthwise, and then cut each half in 4 pieces, so that you have 8 pieces per hot dog; set aside.

Divide the dough in half, and on a floured surface, roll out each half into a 1/2-inch thick square, then slice into 2-inch strips. Take one strip and evenly space hot dog pieces about 1/2 inch apart on top, with cheese underneath, then top with another dough strip. Using a pastry cutter or knife, slice through the top and bottom layer of dough around each hot dog piece, to make a little packet. Pinch the sides of each together if necessary to make sure there are no holes.

Bring water and baking soda to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add a few pretzel bites and boil for about 30 seconds; remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the baking sheet. (The baking soda in the water helps keep the dough lighter.) Repeat with the remaining bites.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Beat the remaining egg with a few splashes of water, and brush over the tops of the bites; sprinkle with salt. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.


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